Cats, shoes, Kardashians -- how fashion embraced the meme

Updated 10th March 2020
Cats, shoes, Kardashians -- how fashion embraced the meme
Written by CNN Staff
The fashion industry -- with its close relationship to celebrity and pop culture -- finds itself at home in the world of online memes.
Some say the first fashion meme may have originated with none other than Jennifer Lopez and the striking green Versace dress she wore to the Grammys in 2000.
With so many people looking for it online, the dress helped the fashion industry grasp the power of the internet, and inspired Google to invent Image Search.
Some memes are created from funny, accidental moments; others are clever Photoshop jobs (see Rihanna's 2015 Met Gala gown turned into scrambled eggs and omelets). And, inevitably, people have tried -- with varying degrees of success -- to manufacture viral moments.
In 2014, Paper magazine claimed it would publish something so explosive it would "break the internet."
Naturally, they tried to do it with Kim Kardashian -- shot by legendary photographer Jean-Paul Goude. One cover shows her posing nearly naked, another clad in a figure-hugging black gown and balancing a glass of champagne on her famous behind.
While the internet remains still very much intact, the phrase "break the internet" became shorthand for something that goes next-level viral.
Since then, memes have continued to evolve and even fashion powerhouses like Gucci -- which back in 2017 used them to sell luxury watches -- are banking on meme power as a marketing tool.
One thing that hasn't changed though: 20 years later, J-Lo can still pull off that green dress.